This article seeks to add to current theories of new governance by highlighting the predicament facing regulators and regulatees when dealing with new technologies. Using nanotechnologies as a study, it shows that new modes of governance (as opposed to traditional coercive, or command and control regulation) offer promising solutions to highly complex, uncertain, and contested problems of risk, such as those associated with new technologies. In this regard, nanotechnologies provide a useful test bed for the ambitions of newer, better modes of governance because there are not yet any fixed ideas about the appropriate course of action. The article suggests, however, that examples of new governance are less prominent than perhaps expected. Drawing on empirical data, it argues that, when faced with considerable epistemological, political, economic, and ethical uncertainties, regulatory stakeholders often exhibit a preference for more conventional command methods of regulation. That is not to say that new governance is entirely absent from regulatory policies on nanotechnologies, but that new governance is emerging in perhaps more subtle ways than the scholarly and policy literature predicted.